Donald Trump received unexpected backing from Germany and France after the U.S. president was shut off social media platforms including Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc., extending Europe’s battle with big tech.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel objected to the decisions, saying on Monday that lawmakers should set the rules governing free speech and not private tech companies.
“The chancellor sees the complete closing down of the account of an elected president as problematic,” Steffen Seibert, her chief spokesman, said at a regular news conference in Berlin. Rights like the freedom of speech “can be interfered with, but by law and within the framework defined by the legislature — not according to a corporate decision.”
The German leader’s stance was echoed by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who said that the state and not “the digital oligarchy” is responsible for regulations, calling big tech “one of the threats” to democracy.
Europe is increasingly pushing back against the growing influence of big technology companies. The European Union is currently in the process of setting up regulation that could give the bloc power to split up platforms if they don’t comply with rules.